Poster FOE 2022

Launch: #ThereIsHelp FOE in Malaysia

SUHAKAM, Centre for Independent Journalism Malaysia (CIJ) and Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) will be launching a #ThereIsHelp Search Prompt for Freedom of Expression as an effort to provide access to information to important resources in a timely manner when it is needed the most via Twitter platform.

The launch will be held today at 9.00am and feel free to join the discussion to discuss about  #ThereIsHelp freedom of expression via Twitter Spaces, with CIJ, LFL and Twitter representative at the following date and time:

Date: 30 May 2022

Time: 4.00PM (MY time)Link :



14 JAN 2022

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) is an independent Commission, established by the Malaysian Parliament under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 (Act 597), for the promotion and protection of human rights in Malaysia. Section 2 of Act 597 defines “human rights” as the fundamental liberties enshrined in Part II of the Federal Constitution. Additionally, the Act 597 authorises SUHAKAM to give regard the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in undertaking its functions, so long as it is not inconsistent with the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. Towards this, SUHAKAM is mandated by Section 4 (1) of Act 597 to promote awareness of, and provide education in relation to human rights;  to advise and assist the Government in formulating legislation and administrative directives and procedures and recommend the necessary measures to be taken; to recommend to the Government with regard to the subscription or accession of treaties and other international instruments in the field of human rights; and to inquire into complaints regarding infringements of human rights.

In the course of fulfilling its duties for over 20 years, it is apparent to SUHAKAM that its capacity and effectiveness in performing its roles and functions are contingent upon its independence and ability to act conscientiously. SUHAKAM takes great effort to ensure this, not only to meet the requirements as stated in the Paris Principles[1], but more importantly, to maintain its credibility amongst the Malaysian public as an institution that performs its duties impartially and without fear or favour in order to promote and protect human rights in Malaysia. As such, while SUHAKAM takes serious consideration of all views provided by stakeholders from different extremes and of differing aspirations, SUHAKAM’s decisions and stances on human rights are made independently and in line with the parameters given by Act 597. Additionally, guided by Section 7(4) of Act 597, SUHAKAM endeavours, as far possible, to make all decisions by consensus of its members.

In spite of the above, there appears to be continued misunderstanding by certain quarters, about SUHAKAM’s status, roles, and functions. These misconceptions have become more apparent recently based on reactions from certain individuals and groups following SUHAKAM’s bold decision to take up issues that may be seen by some as “controversial” and not in keeping with the Malaysian social context. Some have even alleged that SUHAKAM only champions perverse issues while ignoring core human rights issues that affect the lives of grassroot communities.

In light of these, and consistent with SUHAKAM’s motto “Human Rights for All”, SUHAKAM wishes to correct some of the misconceptions about SUHAKAM and its way of work towards the promotion and protection of human rights in Malaysia:

“SUHAKAM is western-centric”

Undeniably, SUHAKAM has had its fair share of criticisms from different stakeholders in the country due to their differing perceptions and expectations of SUHAKAM. Some still hold on to the view that SUHAKAM has not lived up to their expectations while others continue to see SUHAKAM as being ‘pro-NGO’ or an institution that blindly follows western concepts due to its many statements and stances that were critical of the authorities or seen as challenging cultural relativism.

In reality, SUHAKAM’s positions take into consideration the local contexts and are not made in silo.

Since the very beginning of its inception, SUHAKAM has built in its way of work, platforms for stakeholders’ consultations on which, individuals and groups with interest are invited to provide their concerns and views on arising human rights issues as well as expectations of changes that need to be made in the country to ensure meaningful human rights progress. In conducting these consultations, SUHAKAM goes to great lengths to ensure that local individuals and groups, including CSOs of diverse backgrounds are engaged, aside from its regional and international partners. Some of the key stakeholders engaged by SUHAKAM include religious groups, women, children, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and many more. One example is the current initiative by SUHAKAM to improve the conditions of places of detention in Malaysia to ensure that such places meet, among others, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. Aside from persons in custody, SUHAKAM made sure that it consulted the relevant Ministries, agencies and officers involved from the start of the initiative. As a result, SUHAKAM’s recommendations to the Government on this matter include not only improvements that could better protect the rights of persons in custody, but also the rights of officers to have safe, clean and healthy working environment.

Another example is SUHAKAM’s promotion work to combat torture. SUHAKAM initiated the formation, and is currently part of a coalition known as the ACT4CAT Coalition[2]. Other than SUHAKAM, members of the Coalition include the Bar Council, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Amnesty International (AI), Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN). Members of the coalition works together to advocate for Malaysia’s ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT)[3]. The Coalition actively seeks other CSOs to join the initiative including faith-based organisations.  In 2019, SUHAKAM hosted a regional dialogue on UNCAT which aimed to explore best practices of other States towards the accession and implementation of UNCAT at the domestic level. In getting wider views and perspectives on this issue, SUHAKAM invited local representatives from government agencies, civil society organisations, medical practitioners, NHRIs, academics to the dialogue to ensure the domestic context is considered.

Another example is in 2016, SUHAKAM embarked on a study on discrimination against transgender persons based in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor relating to their rights to employment, healthcare, education, housing and dignity. Discussions were conducted with various groups including faith-based and human rights organisations, as well as individuals who work with them. The report was then published in March 2019 and one of the recommendations is for this community to be able to enjoy full range of human rights without exception and discrimination.

The above are consultation examples on a plethora of human rights issues carried out by SUHAKAM and are made evident in SUHAKAM’s annual reports since year 2000. The consultations conducted by SUHAKAM ensure that local views and contexts form part of the key considerations.

“SUHAKAM disrespects the Federal Constitution”

SUHAKAM abides by its founding legislation, Act 597, in undertaking its functions which includes the promotion and protection of human rights as defined in Part II of the Federal Constitution, as well as guided by the UDHR. Accordingly, SUHAKAM strives to reflect this in all its work.

Be that as it may, Section 4(1)(b) of Act 597 provides that SUHAKAM is also responsible “to advise and assist the Government in formulating legislation and administrative directives and procedures and recommend the necessary measures to be taken”. Based on this provision, SUHAKAM has persistently provided recommendations to the government on improvements to domestic laws to ensure that they attain the universally accepted common standard of achievement for all peoples set forth in the UDHR. Moreover, SUHAKAM has been consulted and invited by various Ministries to be in various law review committees to ensure that the human rights perspective is considered in the formulation and review of laws. Some of them include the Special Project Team on the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill (2019), Anti-Discrimination against Women Bill, Special Committee on alternatives to mandatory death penalty. SUHAKAM is involved in many other law review committees set up by the Government. 

In this respect, the Government of Malaysia has demonstrated strong commitment to make the necessary changes; for example, the formulation and review of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (Act 736) and abolition of the Internal Security Act 1960 (Act 82). Even the supreme law of the land, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia was amended in July 2001 to include the term “gender” as a basis for non-discrimination, in line with Malaysia’s international commitment.

SUHAKAM will continue to render its assistance to the government in reforming our domestic laws to reflect the Country’s international human rights commitment, including rights categorised as non-derogable.

“SUHAKAM’s positions contradict religious teachings and the Malaysian culture”

SUHAKAM respects freedom of religion as it itself is a human right. SUHAKAM also respects that Islam is the religion of the Federation, and that other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation, as provided by Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

SUHAKAM is disturbed by recent allegations that some of its positions were seen as subtle attacks on certain faith(s). SUHAKAM reiterates that in forming its stances, it is guided by the Federal Constitution of Malaysia as well as the UDHR as allowed by Act 597.

SUHAKAM is of the view that all religions demand for justice, equality and dignity, which also form the cornerstones of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia as well as international human rights standards. On the basis of the supremacy of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, the practice of religion must yield to the fundamental human rights protections afforded by the Constitution. In addition, the Federal Constitution makes clear in Article 75 of Part VI that “‘If any State law is inconsistent with a federal law, the federal law shall prevail and the State law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”

“SUHAKAM only champions perverse matters and ignores real grassroot issues”

SUHAKAM underscores that this assumption is unfounded and blatantly false. SUHAKAM has worked on a wide range of human rights issues involving both economic, social, cultural rights as well as civil and political rights themes. In terms of complaints received for instance, between 2017-2021, SUHAKAM received a total of 4,510 complaints from all over Malaysia. Based on the complaints received, SUHAKAM investigated issues such as the right to a standard of living, work, education, health, social security, citizenship, racial discrimination, freedom of movement, expression, assembly, association, religion and many more. SUHAKAM also reaches out to communities through its Meet-the-People Session (SUHAKAM Bersama Masyarakat) to, among others, provide a platform for the local communities to bring to SUHAKAM’s attention existing grassroot human rights issues affecting their lives.

In addressing those thematic issues, and consistent with Article 8(1) and (2) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, SUHAKAM takes consideration of the lived realities of vulnerable groups and grassroot communities. They include women, children, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, refugees, migrants, and many others. Moreover, SUHAKAM upholds the position that all human beings, irrespective of their backgrounds, are born free and equal in worth, dignity and rights.

SUHAKAM’s current Five-Year Strategic Plan 2021-2025 – that is publicly accessible in its website – shows the extensive human rights focus areas being addressed by SUHAKAM including, among others, advancing economic, social and cultural rights especially for vulnerable groups, combating xenophobia, racism and racial discrimination, and enhancing the realisation of children’s rights. This, together with the fact that SUHAKAM’s annual reports – that record the breadth of human rights themes addressed and vulnerable groups engaged by SUHAKAM – debunks this baseless allegation.  

SUHAKAM will continue to address arising human rights issues in Malaysia without fear or favour. This will include addressing human rights matters that may be seen as unpopular by certain quarters. In addition, SUHAKAM will, if the need arises, speak on behalf of any oppressed and vulnerable communities in the country, who may, otherwise, be rendered voiceless due to political and social pressure. In this regard, SUHAKAM also underscores the need for its annual report to be debated by Parliament so that all human rights issues affecting vulnerable groups in Malaysia can be addressed effectively by the Government.

SUHAKAM has consistently adopted independent and fair positions in addressing human rights issues and while its statements are sometimes critical on some policies and actions which are inconsistent with the international human rights principles and norms, SUHAKAM’s positions are always constructive in character and impelled by the need to encourage the country to move forward towards becoming a nation with exemplary human rights standards and performance.

[1] Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (The Paris Principles) was adopted by General Assembly resolution 48/134 of 20 December 1993 . The Paris Principles set out the minimum standards that NHRIs must meet in aspects of, among others, NHRIs’ legal standing, independence, powers, mandate, and resources to be considered as credible and  effective. In June 2021, SUHAKAM was reaccredited ‘A’ status by the Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA) of the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) denoting that SUHAKAM fully complies with the Paris Principles.

[2] See more information about the ACT4CAT Coalition and its activities at

[3] The UNCAT which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1984, aims to prevent torture and other acts of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;



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SHK_001_21_21-25 Strategic Plan e-Booklet_V3


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Poster Pidato2


“Perpaduan Nasional dalam Kepelbagaian: Malaysia Prihatin Kemakmuran Bersama”

Terma dan syarat-syarat pertandingan:
a) Pertandingan adalah terbuka kepada semua murid Tahun 1 sehingga Tahun 6 serta murid Tingkatan 1 sehingga Tingkatan 5 yang sedang menuntut di sekolah ATHAM sepanjang tempoh pertandingan dijalankan. Peserta mestilah tergolong dalam salah satu kategori yang dipertandingkan.

b) Penyertaan mestilah dihantar melalui pihak sekolah masing-masing selewat-lewatnya pada 25 Jun 2021. Penyertaan yang dihantar secara individu atau orang perseorangan tidak akan diterima.

c) Pidato mesti disampaikan dalam Bahasa Melayu sahaja.

d) Tajuk pidato yang disampaikan mestilah menepati tema yang telah ditetapkan.

e) Tempoh penyampaian pidato adalah antara enam (6) hingga lapan (8) minit. Markah akan dipotong sekiranya penyampaian pidato kurang dari enam (6) minit atau lebih dari lapan (8) minit.

f) Peserta digalakkan merujuk kepada dokumen rasmi berkaitan hak asasi manusia seperti Perisytiharan Hak Asasi Manusia Sejagat 1948 (UDHR) dan Konvensyen Mengenai Hak Kanak-kanak (CRC) bagi mendapatkan maklumat sokongan yang tepat kepada hujah yang ingin diutarakan.

g) Penyertaan perlu dihantar dalam bentuk video bersama skrip pidato yang disampaikan. Video penyertaan berserta skrip pidato mesti dihantar melalui emel di alamat Sekiranya saiz video besar, muat naik video PERTANDINGAN PIDATO ANTARA SEKOLAH-SEKOLAH ATHAM 2021 ANJURAN BERSAMA SURUHANJAYA HAK ASASI MANUSIA MALAYSIA (SUHAKAM) DAN KEMENTERIAN PENDIDIKAN MALAYSIA (KPM) ke dalam platform Google Drive. Sila nyatakan perkara atau tajuk emel seperti format berikut: Tajuk pidato – Kategori – Nama sekolah.
Contoh: Kepentingan Perpaduan Demi Kemakmuran – Kategori 2 – Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Utama, Kuala Lumpur.

h) Skrip pidato yang disampaikan mestilah asli. Sebarang plagiat hasil kerja sedia ada yang telah atau belum diterbitkan tidak dibenarkan sama sekali. Pihak penganjur berhak untuk membatalkan mana-mana penyertaan sekiranya karya peserta bukan bersifat asli.

i) Setiap penyertaan perlu dihantar bersama borang penyertaan yang telah lengkap diisi dengan maklumat yang tepat dan disahkan oleh pihak sekolah masing-masing (sama ada Guru Besar/Pengetua, Guru Penolong Kanan atau wakil guru yang berkenaan). Borang penyertaan boleh diperoleh di bahagian Lampiran.

j) Keputusan pertandingan akan ditentukan sepenuhnya oleh panel juri yang telah dipilih dan bersifat muktamad. Sebarang bantahan tidak akan dilayan.

k) Pihak penganjur berhak untuk menyunting, memuat naik atau menerbitkan setiap video penyertaan tanpa mengubah maksud asal yang ingin disampaikan bagi tujuan program dan aktiviti hak asasi manusia yang dianjurkan. Nama peserta dalam video berkenaan akan dinyatakan bagi mengekalkan karya asal penyertaan.

l) Semua peserta akan menerima sijil penyertaan manakala pemenang akan menerima hadiah berupa wang tunai dan sijil. Sekolah yang diwakili oleh para pemenang setiap kategori akan menerima sijil penghargaan.

m) Sebarang pertanyaan boleh hubungi pihak urusetia pertandingan di talian 012-337 1423 atau 03-2612 5683 atau emel kepada


International Women’s Day Virtual Forum

International Women’s Day Celebration 2021: Virtual Forum on “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World

Date : 10 March 2021 (Wednesday)

Time : 2.00 pm – 5.00 pm (Malaysia time)

Venue : Webinar platform – link will be provided upon confirmed

Registration :




  1. Peraduan #RIDE4RIGHTS ini dianjurkan oleh Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (SUHAKAM) dan terbuka kepada semua warganegara Malaysia tanpa mengira had umur. Kakitangan SUHAKAM dan ahli keluarganya adalah TIDAK LAYAK menyertai peraduan ini.
  2. Peraduan ini bermula pada 7 September 2020 sehingga 31 Ogos 2021.
  3. Peserta perlu menaiki tren MRT atau KTM Komuter dan menangkap gambar yang berlatarbelakangkan iklan SUHAKAM di dalam tren MRT atau KTM Komuter dan memuat naik gambar tersebut ke dalam laman media sosial masing-masing sama ada Facebook, Twitter atau Instagram dengan hashtag #RIDE4RIGHTS dan #SUHAKAM berserta slogan atau kapsyen yang kreatif dan mengandungi nilai hak asasi manusia.
  4. Kapsyen tersebut sama ada menggunakan Bahasa Malaysia atau English.
  5. Peserta dibenarkan memuat naik seberapa banyak gambar ke dalam laman media sosial mengikut kreativiti masing-masing. Gambar yang telah dimuat naik ke laman media sosial perlu dijadikan public post.


  1. Penganjur akan memilih LIMA(5) orang pemenang setiap minggu bermula pada 7 September hingga 30 November 2020. SEMBILAN(9) pemenang utama akan dipilih daripada pemenang-pemenang mingguan.
  2. Pemenang mingguan akan menerima hadiah berupa T-Shirt/Totebag SUHAKAM setiap orang. Pemenang utama akan menerima kad Touch n Go Edisi Khas bernilai RM100.00 setiap seorang.
  3. Nama pemenang mingguan akan diumumkan di laman sosial Facebook, Twitter dan Instagram SUHAKAM secara mingguan manakala nama pemenang utama akan diumumkan pada 10 Disember 2020 sempena Hari Hak Asasi Manusia Sedunia.
  4. Pihak penganjur akan menghubungi pemenang melalui e-mel atau telefon dan akan menghantar pautan borang dalam talian (online form) kepada pemenang untuk mengisi butiran peribadi. Pemenang bertanggungjawab untuk memberikan butiran peribadi seperti nama penuh, alamat surat-menyurat, nombor telefon dengan tepat. Hadiah pemenang akan dihantar melalui pos mengikut alamat yang diberikan oleh pemenang.


  1. Peserta bertanggungjawab sepenuhnya sekiranya berlaku liabiliti, kecelakaan, kecederaan, kehilangan, kerosakan, tuntutan atau kemalangan (termasuk kematian) yang disebabkan oleh penyertaan mereka dalam peraduan, pengumpulan dan/atau penggunaan hadiah. Pihak SUHAKAM tidak akan bertanggungjawab atas sebarang tanggungjawab, kecelakaan, kehilangan, kerosakan, tuntutan atau kemalangan (termasuk kematian) dengan cara apa pun yang dialami oleh peserta akibat daripada menyertai peraduan dan/atau penggunaan hadiah.
  2. Memandangkan pelaksanaan Akta Perlindungan Data Peribadi 2010 dengan mengambil bahagian dalam peraduan ini, peserta dengan ini memberikan kebenaran kepada pihak SUHAKAM untuk menggunakan nama, gambar penyertaan dan kapsyen gambar untuk tujuan mempromosikan hak asasi manusia di masa depan dalam apa jua program, penerbitan, media tanpa pampasan, pemberitahuan atau kebenaran tambahan daripada peserta.
  3. Dengan menyertai peraduan ini, peserta bersetuju setiap masa untuk terikat dengan terma dan syarat yang terkandung di sini.


  1. Selaku penganjur peraduan ini, SUHAKAM berhak mutlak untuk mengkaji dan mengubah mana-mana terma dan syarat yang terkandung di sini pada bila-bila masa.
  2. Pihak penganjur berhak menolak penyertaan peserta sekiranya terdapat sebarang teknik cantuman gambar (collage technique), super impose, trick photograph yang bersifat tidak semula jadi.
  3. Peserta digalakkan untuk mengunjungi Terma & Syarat dari semasa ke semasa untuk melihat sebarang pindaan dan/atau perubahan pada terma dan syarat.
  4. Keputusan SUHAKAM berkenaan senarai pemenang adalah muktamad. Semua peserta tidak boleh menggunakan proses mahkamah untuk mengkaji keputusan SUHAKAM.





Malaysian authorities declared the nation under Movement Control Order (MCO) from 18 March 2020 under the Akta Pencegahan dan Pengawalan Penyakit Berjangkit 1998 and Akta Polis 1967, which was then extended as Conditional MCO (CMCO), to end on 9 June 2020. Under this order, all non-essential work, schools, universities and general operations are mandated to shut and everyone (except for essential workforce) must stay at home or shelter in place. All non-urgent international and interstate travel, recreational and social activities were also not allowed. Despite the mitigation measures in place, there had been a slow and steady increase in the number of Covid-19 positive cases in March – April, especially pronounced in the second wave of the spread of the disease where more clusters of infections were discovered throughout the country.

While actions taken by the authorities to stem the pandemic, had saved lives and much welcomed by the general community, the MCO/CMCO had an unfortunate impact upon various disadvantaged and vulnerable communities; disproportionately affecting the needs and rights of the indigenous people, urban poor, refugees and asylum seekers and migrant workers. These communities were already vulnerable with the lack of supportive policies and programmes by the government, even in normal circumstance, which had been amplified in such a dire situation.

The restrictions imposed had deprived the community’s access to work, food and nutrition, healthcare, and shelter due to their dependency on daily wages, lack of savings and security net to tide them through the period. Most, will also, not benefit from the special stimulus package announced by the Honourable Prime Minister on 27 March and subsequent aid packages. This is further compounded by the restrictions placed upon the movement and operations of NGOs/CSOs and agencies that usually extend aid and assistance, and were unable or faced additional challenges in reaching out to their beneficiaries.

The fact is, even following the end of MCO/CMCO or when the Covid-19 pandemic is successfully controlled, the country’s economy and businesses will take months to recover, which will inadvertently affect the most vulnerable members of the society who have to face a stark reality, for even longer.

SUHAKAM had conducted a needs assessment of the actual situation amongst these communities, to gather information and data which will guide a more structured and strategic approach to address the issues faced by the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. It was necessary, to have evidence-based data from the ground in order to advocate for and seek solutions to issues that were faced. The information gathered will be useful to guide decisions on where aid is best focused on, for the immediate future, or to advise Government to develop targeted policies in the coming months. Where appropriate, SUHAKAM had fully utilised its media reach and influence, to guide and change public opinion, which may in itself bring about positive changes as to how society perceive and treat these communities.

The objectives of the dialogue sessions were :

  1. To identify the challenges and the needs of the communities during the crisis, including where the need is highest and impact is widest
  2. To discuss possible ways and means of supporting the communities, ensuring their rights are met and fulfilled in the shortest time possible
  3. To submit findings and recommendations to authorities and other relevant bodies, for the purpose of sourcing for funding, to influence policies or raise awareness; where appropriate

Please find below, summary of the findings obtained from the dialogue sessions, for your info and update

Subject: SUHAKAM Online Dialogue Sessions from 9 to 23 April 2020

Refugee/asylum Migrant/UndocumentedUrban poor/HomelessChildrenIndigenousPeopleUrban poor/migrant/refugees in SabahIndigenousPeople in Sabah and Sarawak
Held online on9 April 202013 April 202016 April 202017 April 202020 April 202020 April 202023 April 2020
English summaryHereHere/HereHereHereHere
Malay summaryHereHereHereHereHereHere/
Children’s Rights to Education During the Covid 19 Pandemic in SarawakIsu Kanak-Kanak Di Sabah Ketika Pandemik Covid 19 Bersama Agensi Kerajaan Dan Bukan KerajaanDialog Isu Kanak-Kanak Tanpa Warganegara Atau Dokumen Di SarawakConsultation on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Women
Held online on12 June 202016 June 20207 July 2020 17 June 2020
English summaryHere//Here
Malay summary/HereHereHere
Perbahasan Laporan Tahunan SUHAKAM 2018 di Parlimen

Debate of the SUHAKAM Annual Report 2018 in Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR (5 DECEMBER 2019) – The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) extends its appreciation to the Government for debating the 2018 SUHAKAM Annual Report in the third sitting of Parliament in 2019 for the first time. SUHAKAM has been calling for the debate of its annual report since the Commission’s formation in 1999.

Debating the 2018 SUHAKAM Annual Report signals the Government’s commitment to the improvement of human rights in the country, which also fulfils part of Promise 26 of the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto to “make our human rights record respected by the world”. It is also in line with the recommendation made by the Parliament Select Committee on Human Rights and Gender Equality in March 2019.

The 2018 SUHAKAM Annual Report not only brings attention to challenges in the various areas of human rights, but also underlines solutions and possible steps that can be taken to remedy these problems, in addition to work done by SUHAKAM in line with its functions and mandate under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999.

Key areas highlighted by the 2018 SUHAKAM Annual Report include (not in order of importance):-

  1. Human Rights Education
  2. Children’s Rights (including Alternatives to Detention)
  3. Orang Asal / Asli
  4. Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)
  5. Death in Custody & Health in Prisons
  6. Public Inquiry into Enforced Disappearances of Individuals
  7. National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP)
  8. Legal Reforms (including amendments to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999)

SUHAKAM also wishes to extend its appreciation to the 13 Members of Parliament who participated in a lively debate which brought into focus such topics as citizenship rights of children, protections for children, the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, the land rights of the Orang Asli, the importance of strengthening SUHAKAM’s independence to enable it to fulfil its mandate, and the importance of making human rights a recurring topic in Parliament,among others.

SUHAKAM works closely with its partners in the Government, Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to realise human rights work in the country. SUHAKAM looks forward to closer collaboration with the Government and for future yearly debates on the Commission’s annual reports.


Human Rights Education
SUHAKAM has succeeded in expanding its Best Practices in Human Rights (ATHAM) Programme to 468 schools throughout Malaysia after introducing it in 2009 with the support of the Ministry of Education. SUHAKAM has also created educational human rights modules for post-UPSR and post-PT3 students, with initial implementation in ATHAM schools. SUHAKAM also organised 7 Youth For Rights camps involving 1,535 participants from
various local universities and youth groups.

Children’s Rights
SUHAKAM advocates for the total abolition of child marriage and is encouraged by the efforts of various State Governments to raise the minimum maririage age to 18, which will have positive impacts on education, health and child poverty. The Ministry of Women, Family and
Community Development also took steps to establish a Children’s Commission in 2018. In 2019, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner was created under SUHAKAM and a Children’s Commissioner was appointed.

SUHAKAM also recommends that all tahfiz schools should be registered with the Ministry of Education and that Alternatives to Detention (ATD) are considered for children.

Orang Asal / Asli
The violation of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land continue to be the main complaint received by SUHAKAM pertaining to the Orang Asal / Asli, mostly from the states of Kelantan, Perak, Pahang and Johor in the case of the latter. SUHAKAM advocates for the implementation of recommendations made in the 2013 Report of the National Inquiry of Land Rights of Indigenous People without delay.

Persons With Disabilities (PWDs)
SUHAKAM is concerned by the challenges experienced by PWDs, particularly in terms of accessibility in economic, social, cultural, religious, civil and political areas. SUHAKAM has organised various programmes with PWD communities to engage them on substantive issues related to their needs and rights, and will continue to do so.

Death in Custody & Health in Prisons
SUHAKAM, the Royal Malaysian Police and the Ministry of Health are in the process of establishing a medical team known as the Custodial Medical Unit (CMU) to address health issues among detainees and to record injuries or other humans rights violations experienced by detainees while in custody. These units will initially be established in five centralised lock-ups
in Shah Alam (Selangor), Jinjang (KL), Bayan Baru (Pulau Pinang), Indera Mahkota (Pahang) and Kepayan (Sabah).

SUHAKAM also advocates for the ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UN CAT) for the elimination of torture everywhere in Malaysia, with special attention to detention facilities where violence and abuse of detainees have led to deaths.

Public Inquiry into Enforced Disappearances of Individuals
SUHAKAM received a complaint from a group of CSOs and family members of of Pastor Raymond Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Sitepu in April. The Commission decided to conduct a public inquiry (PI) and began hearing testimony in October 2017. The inquiry into Amri Che Mat was concluded on 31 October and Pastor Raymond Koh on 8 December 2018. The PI found that enforced disappearance by state actors, namely the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysian Police, had occurred in both cases.

National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP)
From 2012 to 2018, the Government has studied and developed a National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) which was launched on 1 March 2018. The NHRAP contains 294 action plans and is an important first step in articulating a more coherent and holistic human rights policy in the country. The NHRAP is supported by SUHAKAM and the Commission hopes
that the NHRAP will be implemented without delay.

Legal Reforms
SUHAKAM has recommended amendments to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 related to the appointments of commissioners, the composition of the commission, the length of terms of commissioners, authority to visit detention centres, authority to perform mediations, authority to review bills before they are tabled and debated in Parliament, the source of funding, SUHAKAM to be present as amicus curiae in court cases related to human rights, the expansion of certain powers under the authority to conduct inquiries and the establishment of a Permanent Parliament Select Committee on Human Rights, among others, for the purpose of strengthening SUHAKAM’s capabilities as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI).

SUHAKAM also recommends amendments to the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (ATIPSOM) Act 2007 to introduce provisions related to seizure of assets, new rules to identify victims, introduction of slavery and human trafficking statements as proof of transparency in the supply chain of an organisation, to eliminate caning as a punishment and to introduce mandatory reporting of companies in order to further prevent the proliferation of modern slavery.

SUHAKAM has been contributing to the development of bills related to the elimination of discrimination against women and sexual harassment. The Commission proposed the creation of a gender equality law in its CEDAW Committee Report in 2017 and 2018 Annual Report.